M. A. Narayan Iyengar, born in 1915 in Bengaluru, was the grandson of Sri Narayana Iyengar a disciple of Holy Mother Sarada Devi who later took sannyasa and came to be known as Swami Srivasananda. After graduating from Madras University, Narayan followed his grandfather and joined the Ramakrishna Order at Mayavati Ashrama in 1938. He received his mantra-diksha from Swami Vijnananandaji and later sannyasa-diksha from Swami Virajanandaji in 1947. He was named Swami Vandanananda. He served the Order in various capacities including as Editor, Prabuddha Bharata, and General Secretary of the Order from 1979 to 1985. He attained mahasamadhi in 2007 aged 91.
Alertness in spiritual life
I joined the Order at Belur Math and my first posting was at the Head Quarters Office in Belur Math. Swami Vandananandaji was then the General Secretary of the Ramakrishna Order. My work was to receive donations and to acknowledge them. Swami Vandananandaji asked me to draft a Covering Letter to be sent along with the receipt. I drafted it and showed it to him. While ending the letter I had written, “We pray to Sri Ramakrishna to shower his blessings on you all.”
Seeing that line he said, “You see you have written ‘We pray’. Neither you nor I pray to Sri Ramakrishna for all the donors; then how can you write that. That will be an untruth. If you write like that then you must pray first and then write. Otherwise just say, ‘With best wishes’. That’s all.”
— Swami Shrikantananda, Adhyaksha, Ramakrishna Math, Pune